This article introduces the Rebel Foreign Fighter Dataset (RFFD) which can be used to expand research on civil war and foreign fighters (FFs). First, it largely expands the previously reported data on the number of FFs that have and continue to be involved in conflicts across the globe. Second, this database disaggregates FFs into the various rebel groups they inhabit as opposed to simply categorizing them as residing within a rebel movement. Third, low, high and best estimates of FFs within rebel groups have been provided as well as providing a novel FF ordinal coding mechanism. These additions allow for more accurate conclusions to be drawn on the effects of FFs on specific groups as well as on the conflict in which they reside. Using the RFFD, the link between FF inclusion and civilian sexual violence discussed in Doctor’s study will be re-examined. The new findings show that FF numbers below 1,000 do not have a significant impact on moderate levels of civilian victimization perpetrated by a rebel group and FF numbers below 100 do not have a significant impact on high levels of civilian victimization.
This was originally published on SAGE Publications Ltd: Journal of Peace Research: Table of Contents.